On otters and ‘Nebraska’: Six questions with Van Jensen
Thirty-six questions. Six answers. One random number generator. Welcome to Robot Roulette, where creators roll the virtual dice and answer our questions about their lives, careers, interests and more.
Joining us today is Van Jensen, writer of the Pinocchio Vampire Slayer series and Green Lantern Corps.
Now let’s get to it …
7. What is the strangest thing you have in your house?
I’m tempted to say a first printing of the pulp novel Kiss the Blood Off My Hands, but probably the field glass and bayonet that my grandpa brought back from Japan after World War II. I do, predictably, have a budding collection of Pinocchio trinkets, including some remarkably garish ones.
9. If you could be reincarnated as any animal, which would you chose and why?
An otter. Whenever we go to the Georgia Aquarium, the otters always seem like they’re having a good time. Or they’re sleeping. I could go for that: splashing around half the day, sleeping the rest.
11. What kind of music do you like the least?
Both kinds: Country and Western.
21. Who has been the biggest help or motivator in your career?
In both very direct and less obvious ways, Rob Venditti has helped me build a career in comics. It’s thanks to him that I’m writing Green Lantern Corps. But we’ve known each other for years, and he has helped me in countless ways, offering advice and critiquing scripts and just generally being a good friend. Now that we’re working together, I get to see firsthand just how skilled Rob is as a writer, and that motivates me to live up to the high standard that he has set for the Green Lantern line.
31. What’s the biggest “missed opportunity” you’ve had in comics–or what project did you not take or start that you wish you had?
I completed an issue and a half of an autobiographical mini-comic called Nebraska back in 2009 and 2010, and I wish I’d been able to keep going with it. I don’t think a lot of people know this, but when I was a kid, I wanted to draw comics, not write them. That series gave me an excuse to splash some ink around, even though I’m terrifically unskilled. But in 2011 I was asked to take over as editor of a magazine, and it was too good of an opportunity to pass up. I make time for writing, but that doesn’t leave me any time for art.
34. What kinds of reactions have you gotten from people when they’ve first learned you’re a comic creator?
People are usually pretty excited about it. A lot of people think writing comics means “putting words in the balloons,” so I have to do a little explaining. When I first told people I had written a graphic novel, some of the little old ladies at our church thought that meant erotic fiction. As delicately as possible, I disabused them of that notion.